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'Game of Thrones' teaser: Winter, and season five, approaches

"Game of Thrones" is back this April...

"Game of Thrones" is back this April... Credit: HBO / Macall B. Polay

HBO released another fifth season "Game of Thrones" tease Monday, and -- naturally -- the world is contorting itself over the various meanings and messages contained within. But the world will not have to wait too long for answers: HBO also announced Tuesday that the 5th season will launch " over 170 countries" on April 12.

Den of Geek does a wondrously obsessive job of sifting through the various images here, collating the books with the series -- the 5th is believed to be based largely on "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons," but what's intriguing about that is both books take place at roughly the same time. How "Game of Thrones" will resolve that complicated narrative balancing act will engage fans for months too.

 Meanwhile, EW's cover story will be devoted to "GoT" next week, and here's what co-showrunner (with Dan Weiss) David Benioff told the magazine: 

"Worlds are colliding [in season five] One of the things we’ve been most excited about from the beginning of the series is we’ve had all these far-flung story lines across Westeros and Essos which almost never cross. Now some of these characters start to head on a collision course for each other.”

And before you dive into this brief tease, here's a very rough approximation of the world at the end of season four (and possibly edging into the fifth):

...Arya has fled to Braavos...Tyrion is on the run too...Cersei is now essentially queen and ruler of all Westeros, or so she assumes...House Lannister is not merely in turmoil and full of the usual intrigue, with a future king (Tommen) betrothed to a future queen (Margaery), but it is also deeply in doubt. Cersei -- seen at the very outset here -- has her hands full...

..Oh, and the commoners, or smallfolk, are starving, and if not in open revolt, certainly in a position to examine or question the underpinnings of their current plight... And meanwhile, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish has helped orchestrate the entire catastrophe that has befallen Westeros..... Stannis is at the Wall, having defeated Mance Rayder's forces there...

...Finally, let's talk about Daenerys Targaryen, whose voice fills this tease, speaking of her rivals as "spokes on a wheel...this one's on top, then that one's on top, and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground [but] I'm going to break the wheel..."

Big talk for someone who has essentially lost the services of her most trusted allies -- the dragons, who are in chains or AWOL -- and who appears to be on that aforementioned Benioff collision course with many (and would she include white walkers as spokes on the wheel as well?)... Also, her hold over Meereen hardly seems secure, with the entire city beset with sectarian violence, between former slaves and slaveholders.

 A few images of note here -- notably Jonathan Pryce, as High Sparrow, who will figure prominently in the travails of the "smallfolk." You also get a reasonably good shot here of the so-called Brazen Beasts -- "Dany's" army formed after she conquered Meereen. You can find out a little more about them here.

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